Medical Cannabis Treatment for Cancer and HIV/AIDS?

May 27, 2013

Janet Grace Ortigas, The Guardian Express

Today, there are at least 17 states, including the District of Colombia, where cannabis is legal. Ohio, South Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey, California, and Michigan are just a few states that garnered strong support in the legalization of  medical cannabis. In Illinois, a bill legalizing the use of  cannabis needed the signature of Gov Pat Quinn. The legislation was approved by House and Senate, permitting doctors to prescribe cannabis for cancer and patients with

ca/learning-center/conditions/hiv-aids'>HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Dr Suzanne Carlber-Racich, a Master of Public health program professor explains that the new legislation does not permit doctors to write prescriptions without providing written clarification indicating that the patient is allowed to take it for treatment. The patient must then submit it to the Illinois Department of Public Health to receive an ID card and obtain the medical cannabis through a state run dispensary.

In California, independent run dispensaries are increasing amid relentless federal government’s crackdown to shut them down. In light of this, Steve DeAngelo,  one of the dispensary owners says that the medical cannabis delivery system proliferated.  DeAngelo announced that if the patients stopped coming to his dispensary, he will go to them. Marijuana was legalized in California in 1996, yet tension runs high between communities and advocates who banned pot clubs. Dale Sky Jones, executive chancellor of the Oakland based medical cannabis trade school saw an increasing number of delivery services. Jones added that if the communities are not comfortable with dispensaries, delivery service ensures access to those who need it.

Benefits of Medical Cannabis

There is now quantifiable evidence that cannabis is beneficial in treating many disorders such as post-traumatic stress syndrome. The Langone Medical Center, New York University School of Medicine, and Veterans Center for the Study of Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury investigators Steven and Alexandra Cohen reported that cannabis relieved haunting nightmares and other symptoms of anxiety.

The American Journal of Medicine found evidence that the use of MC was associated with lesser levels of fasting insulin, and smaller chance of insulin resistance. The study also reveals that insulin levels were 16 percent lower than participants who never used the substance. Moreover, the Medical Cannabis Research and the University of California found out that cannabis can treat HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis symptoms. It can even benefit cancer patients to mitigate the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy or as an alternative treatment for cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, brain cancer, and leukemia.

Risk of Medical Cannabis exposure

The exposure to cannabis may pose a danger to children because the tetrahydrocannabinol (active chemical in cannabis), has been higher than normal concentration in medical cannabis and sold in soft drinks, baked goods, and candies. At least 1400 children under 12 years old were evaluated for accidental poisoning before and after the law was enacted in October 2009. Fourteen children, mostly boys and those as young as eight months old have ingested medical cannabis or ate them in foods.

A study conducted at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver reported that at least a dozen children were unintentionally poisoned. At that time, doctors were unfamiliar with marijuana poisoning in children.

Lead researcher Dr George Sam Wang of the MPDC reports that the increased exposure to cannabis in younger patients has more severe symptoms than previously observed. Most cases usually involved children finding their grandparents’ “stash.”

Legal Consequences of MC

Although there are more states legalizing the use of medical cannabis, there are no set rules. There are concerns about the plants an individual is allowed to grow, or a person can possess.  Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access explains although the use of MC is legal, the Federal government does not recognize its legality. For instance, if you are in a federal court, you can be convicted whether you are using cannabis for medical reason or for recreation. Moreover, the Federal government does not recognize curative findings substantiating its benefits. In a Federal courtroom, the lawyers are not even allowed to present the state law.



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